California and Montana-based architect Richard Fernau will present his architectural projects based on theories of improvisation in a free event at Elk River Books on Tuesday, February 9, 2016.
His new book, Improvisations on the Land, details the philosophy and artistry of his firm, Fernau + Hartman. Starting with principles of sustainability and “respect for the land,” Fernau approaches his work as an improvisation among existing natural conditions and structures, his artistic inspiration, and the needs and desires of his clients. Detailing 18 projects with essays, photography, site plans and designs, the book is the first monograph to explore the firm’s residential designs. Starting with extended site surveys, what Fernau calls “time on the land,” the architects seek to distill from vernacular building traditions ideas that maximize the connection between the natural and built environments and to intensify the experience of place.
“Our sense of spontaneity and joy provides the antidote to so much of the self-conscious architecture that surrounds us,” writes Fernau. “This results in houses that push the possibilities of residential design today.”
With influences ranging from French novelist Victor Hugo’s ink spot drawings to the environmental artist Christo’s miles-long installations, Fernau + Hartman have designed for sites including the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, the Manhattan headquarters of Nickelodeon, the Napa Valley Museum and the 17,000-acre Avis Ranch north of Clyde Park, Montana. Virtually all of their realized projects have won awards for architectural design, interior design or technical innovation. Their work has been widely published and exhibited throughout the U.S. and in Tokyo.
Fernau’s reading will take place at 7 p.m., upstairs at Elk River Books, 120 N. Main St. and will be followed by a book signing and reception. Elk River Books specializes in collectible outdoor, regional and Western history books, and provides a lively venue for southwest Montana’s unique literary community. For more information, call 333-2330.